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Archive for May, 2017

Arguably my most self-absorbed acquisition this decade, I bought this mug for my wife.

She loves the humor (failing to see it as a statement of fact), but also appreciates how big and sturdy this mug is.41xci8IjqcL._AC_US320_QL65_

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After a recent move,51i2LkUTNKL._AC_US320_QL65_ I’ve dropped ties, belts, shoes, and half-used cans of paint from my list of Things You Can Never Have Too Many Of.

However, I’m leaving bungee cords on there, especially after the recent arrival of this oddly conceived jar of the things. I mean, who buys bungees in a jar?

But it works and serves up a nice little compact container that now sits on the basement shelf ready to cough up the right-sized cord at a moment’s notice. The first moment arrived earlier today, when we realized both dog leashes are in a car that’s at the shop. A bungee serves nicely as an emergency dog leash (who knew?). Thanks to the Cartman Bungee Cords Assortment, we had just the right size for the job.

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]En Isaías 56, YHWH se acerca hasta donde la gramática hebrea permite a nombrarse a sí mismo con un nuevo nombre.

Así dice el Señor omnipotente, el que reúne a los desterrados de Israel: «Reuniré a mi pueblo con otros pueblos, además de los que ya he reunido». (Isaías 56:8 NVI).

De hecho, casi se podía leer el prefacio de la declaración de YHWH como…

YHWH, el Recolector de los desterrados de Israel, declara…

Dos cosas se destacan. Primero, en mi lectura, este impulso de recolección no se registra como uno enmarca un acontecimiento que ocurrió una vez y puede o no puede volver a ocurrir. Más bien, parece que la sintaxis presenta a esta reunión de las hijas e hijos errantes de Israel, como algo casi intrínseco a la personalidad de YHWH. No sólo los reúne. Él es su Recolector. Una y otra vez. (more…)

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The famous rhetorical question of the eighth Psalm is widely misgauged:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3–4 ESV)

The assumption behind the question is too often thought to be that human beings are too measly and pathetic to warrant such divine attention. In fact, the context suggests just the opposite: there is some intrinsic glory—albeit veiled—in human beings that holds YHWH’s gaze:

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

Next to the massive dimensions of the moon and the stars, humans are manifestly small creatures. One might not expect YHWH to find them fascinating and worthy of his care. Yet in spite of their humble bearing, we read that YHWH is mindful of them, cares for them, indeed has exalted them over the rest of creation. (more…)

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As power encounters go, this one has no peer.

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?‘ (John 18:33–35 ESV)

If the biblical presentation is to be believed, the Maker of worlds stood before one cynical, beleaguered official of a particularly influential tribe that would in its turn slump into obscurity. (more…)

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The Isaianiac rhetoric is fond of naming names. People and places are with abandon given new names that raise hopes, channel energies, and uncover unseen dignity.

En route to the magnificent promises of its eleventh and twelfth verses, Isaiah’s 58th chapter bites fiercely into the travesty that is mere religious ritual with no passion for justice at its core. (more…)

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51rYAIdXH7LThis produce proved to be a high-value solution to our recent moving needs.

Before snagging this ten-pack of moving blankets, we considered renting a similar product from U-Haul. But by the time we rented twice (a near certainty), we’d have spent the money it costs to own these surprisingly high-quality moving blankets.

They arrived in a surprisingly snug package and then kind of sprang to life after I’d done my work on the packaging with a box-cutter.

These blankets exceeded our expectations and quickly made us fans.

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These days, you don’t have to worry about how to get a giant box spring home. All 45 61JgFrwfoXL._SX522_pounds of this puppy shows up at your doorstep in a compact box that’s easy to carry upstairs and simple to assemble. The latter took me about 30 minutes, using the clear instructions and the included tools. The light aluminum construction distributes the weight of the mattress and the human (OK, maybe the occasional canine) bodies that rest atop it in a way that makes a heavier boxspring unnecessary. The fabric ‘envelope’ zips snugly around the finished metal frame.

I recently assembled a smaller (twin) boxspring that uses wood slats. I prefer this metal assembly by a hair.

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In Isaiah 56, YHWH comes as close as Hebrew grammar allows to naming himself with a new name.

The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, ‘I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.’ (Isaiah 56:8 ESV)

Indeed, one could almost read the preface to YHWH’s declaration as …

YHWH, the Gatherer of the outcasts of Israel, declares …

Two things stand out. First, on my reading, this gathering impulse is not reported as one registers an event that happened once and may or may not recur. Rather, it seems that the syntax presents this gathering of Israel’s wandering daughters and sons as nearly intrinsic to YHWH’s persona. He not only gathers them. He is their Gatherer. Time and again. (more…)

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History, genealogy, and confession can all be faked.

On its way to a profoundly moving promise of ‘new things’ that will be both redemptive and easy to welcome, the 48th chapter of the book of Isaiah digs deep into Israel/Judah’s pretension. We see here the logic of ‘refining’ this people ‘in the furnace of affliction’, for from Isaiah’s perspective only a humble nation can receive YHWH’s future. And Israel will not be humble until she has been humbled.

Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and who came from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the Lord and confess the God of Israel, but not in truth or right. For they call themselves after the holy city, and stay themselves on the God of Israel; the Lord of hosts is his name. (Isaiah 48:1–2 ESV)

The passage begins as though bent on heroic declaration. Jacob’s historical identity leads the nation to bask in the name ‘Israel’. And we are probably to imagine the very genealogical datum of procreation when we learn that Jacob has come ‘from the waters of Judah’. All this legacy is then complemented by the present-day activities of ‘swear(ing) by the name of YHWH and confess(ing) the God of Israel.’ (more…)

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